West Reach Construction Company Inc.
Founded by Helen M. Churchill, West Reach Construction Company Inc. is named after in the West Reach of the island of Jamestown, Rhode Island, where Churchill loved to visit when on vacation. The company has been a full-service general contractor since 1987. West Reach began with four employees and through building a reputation for reliability and expertise, the company has grown into a business which now employs 20 full-time workers. Located in Bolton, Connecticut, West Reach specializes in all aspects of commercial and industrial construction.
In 1992 the business was passed down to Churchill’s daughter, Kerry Hainsey. Hainsey has been involved in the construction business for the majority of her entire career. “I worked for my father’s company which was based out of the same building as West Reach,” she says. “In 1992 he closed that business and I took over as owner of West Reach.” Hainsey has maintained solid employee retention as many of her workers were employed by her father before she became owner of West Reach in 1992.
Reputation is everything
High-quality work and a stellar safety record have created a competitive edge for West Reach. The fact that the company self-performs a fair amount the work on all projects allows West Reach flexibility with labor costs. “We do sub out the licensing trades such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical,” says Hainsey.
Working out of the single location in Bolton, the company provides general contracting services throughout the entire state of Connecticut. “Our reputation speaks for itself and most of the jobs we bid on are places that only accept bids from three or four companies.”
Accepting new challenges
West Reach has been performing renovation work for United Technologies (UTC), a company located in Hartford, Connecticut, that provides high-technology systems and solutions for the aerospace and commercial industries. “We often work for a branch of UTC called Sikorsky Aircraft,” says Hainsey. “Recently, we renovated a few floors of their engineering building. We also have a current job with them right now working on an executive transport simulation lab.” West Reach also works for Pratt & Whitney, another branch of UTC.
A challenge component of the Sikorsky jobs is the fact that some are LEED-certified projects. “That was something we had never done before,” explains Hainsey. Working on LEED-certified projects involves a fair amount of research in order to find qualified subcontractors as well as site organization.
“To overcome these hurdles, we had the project supervisor and two administrative workers take a class on LEED work,” Hainsey adds. A consultant was also hired to assist in LEED-certified construction practices. Upon completion of the projects, West Reach received LEED Gold certificates for Sikorsky.
When working for companies such as UTC, Hainsey is very selective about hiring subcontractors and who is chosen to represent the company. For this type of work, West Reach consults PICS, a subcontractor auditing company and website which lists pre-qualified companies for industrial and commercial contracting.
When measuring success, West Reach takes extra care to make sure every job is completed with top-notch quality. In order to maintain efficiency, Hainsey is cognitive to where the company should invest in equipment as opposed to renting it. “At the end of the year I evaluate our expenses to see where we could have possibly bought what we rented,” says Hainsey. “I’m constantly trying to figure what we can invest in to raise our efficiency level.”
West Reach is always looking for qualified people and subcontractors to work with. “I constantly concern myself with making sure I have the right people for the right jobs,” explains Hainsey, West Reach is set to experience continued growth in the next few years. “We’re always looking for new partnerships and relationships,” says Hainsey. “We’ll be doing some work with the University of Connecticut and have a new contract with CVS.”
With a strong reputation and excellent track record, West Reach Construction Company Inc. should have no problem expanding its market in the near future.
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